Win2000 bandwagon in neutral

After about four years of development, the formal release of Windows 2000 still is more than three months away, but Microsoft's next big push in operating systems will be the focal point at Comdex.

After about four years of development, the formal release of Windows 2000 still is more than three months away, but Microsoft's next big push in operating systems will be the focal point at Comdex.

IBM and Unisys will join Microsoft this week in heavily promoting Windows 2000 in Las Vegas, but industry analysts continue to expect a moderate adoption rate of the new Windows platform.

Dan Kuznetsky, director of operating environment research at International Data, said users in IDC surveys have consistently said they plan to wait at least six months to adopt Windows 2000. Officials from large companies plan to wait as long as one to two years before they adopt it in any great volume.

Kuznetsky attributed this delay to the fact that much of the Windows 2000 code base is very large and much of the technology is brand new. As a result, many people plan to wait for Microsoft to ship its first Windows 2000 Service Pack, which is designed to stabilise the platform, he said.

Another hurdle facing the company is application compatibility

"They've got the certification logo program in the works, and it's under way for desktop applications, but it won't be launched until later this year or early next year for server-based apps," said Dwight Davis, an analyst at Summit Strategies, in Kirkland, Wash. "Even if people are not too concerned about having been certified, they're concerned that their existing applications will at least run without major problems on Windows 2000."

IBM will re-emphasise its aggressive support of Microsoft's long-awaited operating system when it formally announces a broad range of services ranging from preliminary evaluation services to full implementation of the product for mission-critical applications.

The new service offerings, to be available through IBM's Global Enterprise Services for Microsoft Technologies Practice, are based on the feedback IBM received while working with users who are part of its early adopters programs.

"This is going to be a set of modular offerings intended to address top-line issues users have about Windows 2000," said Anne Fitzpatrick, IBM's manager of business development and strategy at the company's Enterprise Services for Microsoft Technology, in Somers, N.Y. "A lot of the questions they have asked revolve around the immediate benefits for their existing environments, should they implement just part of [Windows 2000] or all of it, and how much is it going to cost them in terms of total investment."

While Fitzpatrick could not say with any authority what percentage of the company's users would implement Windows 2000 when it becomes available in February, she did say that the overwhelming majority of early adopters will.

"The early adopters, those who have tested and tried it, love it. Customers not exposed to it are less than excited about it. In many cases I think it is a matter of customers better understanding its benefits and what the challenges are and then mapping those to their IT business plans," Fitzpatrick said.

Unisys will do its share to boost the fortunes of the 32-bit operating system when company officials, Microsoft, and at least 10 others announce the formation of what they claim will be one of the world's largest data centers for electronic business. Unisys is expected to announce that selected existing and new hardware platforms will help fuel the data center, which will support Windows NT 4.x and Windows 2000.

Other companies supporting the data center and Windows 2000 at the announcement include Intel, Cisco Systems, EMC, Storage Technology, Giganet, and NetIQ.

Serving up services

IBM Global Enterprise Services for Microsoft Technologies Practices addresses five key areas.

* Readiness evaluation

* Analysis and and strategy

* Architecture and design

* Implementation planning

* Development and implementation

Source: IBM Corp.

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